Hitchens’s Razor

Hitchens’s razor is an epistemological razor expressed by writer Christopher Hitchens. It says that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, then the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it.

Hitchens has phrased the razor in writing as

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

Hitchens's Razor

“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Hitchens’s Razor


The concept, named after journalist, author, and avowed atheist Christopher Hitchens, echoes Occam’s razor. The dictum appears in Hitchens’s 2007 book titled God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. It takes a stronger stance than the Sagan standard (“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”), instead applying to even non-extraordinary claims.

It has been compared to the Latin proverb quod grātīs asseritur, grātīs negātur (“What is asserted gratuitously may be denied gratuitously”), which was commonly used in the 19th century.

See also

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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